Senyu Chen, Professor
Department of Plant Pathology
Support: Forever Green Initiative, Clean Water Fund
Award Amount: $136,800
Soybean cyst nematode (SCN, Heterodera glycines) is the most prevalent pest affecting soybean yield in the Midwest. Pennycress is being evaluated as a cash cover crop in the corn-soybean production system to provide both economic opportunity and ecosystem benefits. Pennycress has been found to be a host of SCN. An alternate host can be problematic in the corn-soybean rotation as SCN development and reproduction can continue throughout a longer portion on the growing season. If pennycress increases the SCN population, it can cause significant yield loss in the soybean crop. The overall goal is to develop effective SCN management strategies with pennycress as a winter cover crop in the soybean-corn production systems.
Two objectives have been developed in this proposal to address this issue. The first, is to investigate temperature effect on SCN development in pennycress. This research will determine whether or not SCN can successfully complete its life cycle in pennycress in the field rotation. The second objective will be to develop a pennycress population that will build the platform for SCN resistance QTL analysis, and resistant gene discovery in pennycress. The information gained from the fulfillment of these objectives will allow implementation of pennycress in the soybean-corn production system for economic and environmental benefits. Without this information, soybean growers will not adopt pennycress as a cover crop. Farmers perceive too great a risk to their soybean crop, with pennycress’ alternate-host status. The outcome of the research is to minimize damage of SCN to soybean, maximize the productivity of the cropping system, and protect the environment.